Monday, August 23, 2010

The Rest of the Story

I want to thank everyone for the complementary and supportive comments regarding my prairie landscape. The response has been amazing and I was not expecting all of the drive-bys after the story ran in the Dallas Morning News.
 I am flattered to have received a few requests to do other people’s landscapes. Sorry, but I have a day job (with air conditioning) and you could not pay me enough to dig the grass out of another yard! Besides that, you would lose patience with me. I do all of my work myself and I am still not finished with my own yard after six years!

The photos in this blog are carefully shot to show my prairie at its best, but they don’t tell the whole story. I have several unfinished and yet to be started projects to complete before I can say “I am finished”. Chances are that I will think of more new projects before I finish the ones I know about today.

Here is a behind the scenes tour of the Plano Prairie Garden.

When I started my front yard prairie, I left a 3-4 foot wide strip of St. Augustine and Bermuda grass around the perimeter of my prairie. The intent was to have a manicured area outside the less manicured prairie and to set the prairie off as a big flowerbed. I also wanted a buffer zone between my prairie and possible overspray from the neighbor’s pesticides and insecticides. The photo below shows the west side of the yard. This strip of grass goes past my compost piles and all the way to the alley.

After I removed most of my lawn, I participated in a Plano lawnmower exchange program. I traded in my gas powered mower and purchased an electric (corded) mower at a reduced price. It did not take long to discover that it takes longer to mow a lawn when you are tethered by an electrical cord that you have try to avoid running over. In fact, it took as much time to mow my reduced lawn with an electric mower as it did to mow a full lawn with a gas powered mower. If you go electric, consider a cordless electric mower.

This spring, I removed the grass from the east side of my front prairie and moved the edging to the property line. I still need to move sprinkler heads, excavate soil, and connect my decomposed granite pathway to the sidewalk. I plan to make the same improvements on the west side of the prairie, but I will have additional drainage issues to deal with.

Another ongoing project is the parkway between the sidewalk and the street. This year, I removed some perennials and buffalo grass and added more decomposed granite. I am still trying to decide what to do with this area.

Near the front door, I am adding flagstones to create a small sitting area. I am still working on fitting together the pieces of this rock puzzle.

Finally (for now), the east side of the house needs work. This space is only about 8 feet wide and I plan to add a decomposed granite pathway to connect in the front and back prairies.

One day it will all be finished and I will not post pictures of these areas again until then.


  1. It's nice to see you're human. Never ending projects are the best part of gardening. I love to sit outside and envision project after project. Of course a little wine does wonders for my imagination.

  2. Ditto the first comment! Also, I tried to go mostly native with my 1/4 acre garden near Hillcrest High in Dallas (60's ranch house). We took out the lawn on the parkway and planted 50 dwarf yaupon hollies plus four small trees including Mexican plum and possumhaw. We added 2 stepping stone areas about 4 feet wide each so someone could get out of a parked car. It took a little while, but the yaupons did grow into a solid low hedge that never needed watering!

  3. Thank you for sharing! Don't be shy about showing parts of your yard in in-progress states. Even failures can be educational. Thanks again for educating your community!

  4. Oh, it will never be finished, Bluestem. If it were, where would be the fun?

    Seriously, your ongoing projects sound great and will give you more room to play with plants. The new pathways sound perfect for adding structure and are sure to set off your prairie nicely.

  5. Great garden! I love the Prairie look.
    The benefits far outweigh the labor. Have any of your neighbors joined in?
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston
    BTW: I found your blog via Houston Garden Girls post about Garden Gnomes. I'll be sure and link your garden blog as well since you're the originator. :-)

  6. Thanks, David. My yard is unique in the neighborhood, but it has generated a lot of interest lately.


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